Bonita Springs Historical Society presents the 2018 -19
Speaker Series: Our Local Water Quality Crisis

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The Bonita Springs Historical Society continues the very popular presentations. Much thanks go to the Bonita Springs High School and the Lions Club for use of their facilities, and to those organizing the series, all those who volunteered to help, and of course our speakers.

For funding assistance, we are grateful to
Finemark National Bank & Trust and the Florida Humanities Council.

A nominal donation is suggested for nonmembers.

The first presentation will be held at the Bonita Springs High School at Imperial Parkway and Shangri-La Rd, and the last two at the Lions Club, located at 10322 Pennsylvania Ave, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

This season’s Speaker Series tackles Southwest Florida’s most vital issue: the water quality crisis that threatens the Gulf of Mexico and the economic health of our coastline communities.

The Gulf of Mexico

Leading off the series is Pulitzer-prize winning author Jack E. Davis, whose book, The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea, has been acclaimed by the Washington Post, NPR, and the New York Times Book Review, which called it a “beautiful homage to a neglected sea.”

Davis tells the history of the Gulf as it has never been told before, with colorful stories that span the ages, from the Calusa and conquistadors to tarpon sportfishing and the nation’s first offshore oil wells, documenting the economic and political exploitation of the Gulf over many generations.

A professor at the University of Florida, Davis will give an inspiring—and sobering—view of the future of the Gulf, the Earth’s 10th-largest body of water and one of the earth’s most diverse, productive marine ecosystems.

His talk, followed by a book signing, will take place Thursday, December 13, 2018, at 7 pm at the new Bonita Springs High School, 25592 Imperial Parkway at Shangri-la Road.

Red Tide, Blue-Green Algae

In January, fisheries scientist and water resource manager John Cassani will explain the connection between red tide and blue-green algae—so toxic it suffocates fish and aquatic plants and poses serious risks to human health. He will discuss the history of harmful algal blooms in Florida, their underlying causes and potential so- lutions, posing the question: Is Florida up to the challenge?

As the Calusa Waterkeeper, Cassani works to protect the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed, which extends from Lake Okeechobee west to near-shore waters and coastal estuaries such as Estero Bay. He leads a team of volunteers who sample and monitor water quality, using data to raise public awareness and spur government officials to take action.

Cassani will speak Friday, January 18, 2019, at 7 pm at the Bonita Springs Lions Club, 10346 Pennsylvania Avenue west of Old US41 Road.

Our Water Crisis: What You Can Do to Help

In the final talk of the series, Jennifer Hecker, executive director of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP), explains the challenges and actions that can be taken to preserve the environment that supports our economy and quality of life, inspiring us all to take responsibility for saving our waters.

A public-private partnership, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program works to protect and restore Florida waters from Venice to Bonita Springs to Winter Haven. CHNEP uses science-based research, restoration and education to address water quality, hydrology, and fish and wildlife protection. With its partners and more than 150 volunteers, CHNEP has been building oyster reefs, planting seagrasses, and implementing new tech- nologies to capture pollution in Central and Southwest Florida waterways.

Hecker’s talk will be held Thursday, February 7, 2019, at 7 pm at the Bonita Springs Lions Club, 10346 Pennsylvania Avenue west of Old US41 Road.

The Speaker Series is sponsored by FineMark Bank and the Florida Humanities Council. A $5 donation is requested to support the series, one of the Historical Society’s many efforts to preserve, protect and promote the rich cultural heritage of Bonita Springs. The group also conducts walking tours through the historic downtown and is working to open the 1915 McSwain Home on Old 41 Road as a welcoming “front door” to local history.

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